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CASNEWS (article first published : 1999-06-21)

The idea of artSMart is to promote the activities of KZN artists of all disciplines and to attract people to the province to enjoy the rich talent that exists in this province which is home to a wide and vibrant mix of nationalities and races.

However, it seems artSMart is reaching further in Africa much quicker than we anticipated. Durban Arts community projects manager Brenda Toko attended the Second Southern Africa Cultural and Theatre Conference held in Ezulwini in Swaziland in March and met up with Ackson Tembo, chairman of the Chingola Arts Society ( CAS ) which he founded in 1996. Through the Durban Arts magazine D’ARTS, Ackson picked up artSMart on the web and made contact.

The Chingola Arts Society is a 234-seater theatre situated in Chingola on the copperbelt province of Zambia . The foundation stone was laid on 26 September 1959 by Mr C R Burnham (first chairman of CAS) and officially opened by Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother on 20 May 1960 .

“The society has about 300 members all involved in part time theatre,” says Ackson. ”We produce six plays per year .Of these, four are from within Zambia or Africa and the other two come from outside of Africa .Of course, we realise theatre has no boundaries. Last year, four of the productions were written by our own members, the fifth by another Zambian and the sixth was an English play. We are the only Club that holds an annual awards presentation ceremony at which we give out a total of 17 awards.”

Ackson plans to produce a theatre magazine for Zambia. If you’d like to contact him, you can reach him on . Theatre groups - how about starting a reciprocal touring programme going between South Africa and Zambia?


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